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New Zealand Nature: Page One

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New Zealand Nature: Page One


Awesome Forces: The Natural Hazards that Threaten New Zealand edited by Geoff Hicks and Hamish Campbell. Published by Te Papa Press. ISBN 0909010587. Recommended retail price $19.95.

New Zealand is a long, thin country, situated on the boundary between two of the Earth’s gigantic crustal plates. The central ridge of mountain ranges, stretching from Fiordland to East Cape like a knobbly backbone, has been pushed up by huge earth processes as one plate collides and grinds against the other. Add to this the interaction of steep slopes and a climate that dumps a lot of water on them and you have a formula for collapse – landslide!

Awesome Forces is a book that everyone needs to read, in order to understand the hazards that threaten this beautiful, unstable land – and learn what they can do to survive them. It has been written by some of New Zealand's leading scientists: Hamish Campbell on New Zealand's setting, Alan Hull on earthquakes, Brude Houghton and David Johnston on volcanoes, Mauri and Eileen McSaveney on landslides, Willem de Lange on tsunami, and Jim Salinger on adverse weather. Soft cover, 159 pages. Published in 1999.


Coasting: The Sea Lion and the Lark by Neville Peat. Published by Longacre Press. ISBN 1877135577. Recommended retail price $19.95

There is a new presence on New Zealand's southern coast.

Neville Peat, one of New Zealand's finest observers of the natural world, takes us on a journey from Otago to the subantarctic and follows the life and migration of a sea lion. With the taut and accurate prose of a scientist, and the lyrical sense of an artist, Peat's compelling style lures us into gaining an immense
amount of information.

In a work that is deeply intimate and wonderfully expansive, Peat takes us well beyond the physical. He delves into the emotional origins of myth, and reveals an impassioned respect and understanding of the close relationship between humans and animals.

While exploring changing coastal habitat - blending ancient beliefs, local history, legend and the natural sciences - Peat encounters a number of remarkable individuals along the way; sea dogs, old salts, and a mysterious drifter who follows the winds and tides. Here we gain the naturalist's sense of wonder, and the philosopher's contemplation of the mysterious presence we call nature.

"He combines poetic and descriptive skills with a lightness of touch and still manages to convey a profound understanding of how all facets of the natural world interweave. A captivating work."

It is my belief (Paddy's) that this book is destined to become a classic. It's beautifully written and highly evocative of the "feel" of New Zealand nature. Highly recommended. Soft cover, 184 pages. Published in 2001

Diving and Snorkeling New Zealand by Jenny and Tony Enderby. Published by Lonely Planet Publications. ISBN 1740592670. Recommended retail price $16.99.

At last! We've been waiting for this book as we are regularly contacted about diving in New Zealand.

Flanked by rugged mountains, idyllic beaches and rolling farmland (who writes this stuff?), New Zealand's 15,000 km-long coastline offers endless diving adventures. Off the North and South Islands, dive sites are scattered amongst subtropical islands, towering kelp forests and cold-water fiords. Highlights include the wreck of Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior, the Poor Knights Islands' maze of archways and caves, Fiordland's spectacular red and black corals and organized swims with dolphins and fur seals. You may also spot elephants seals, penguins and whales. This book explores 75 of the best dive sites around New Zealand, with full-color photos throughout.

You'll get specific information on: Dive site topography and access

Soft cover, 159 pages. Published in 2002.


Eagle's Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand by Audrey Eagle. ISBN 978-0-909010-08-9. Published by Te Papa Press. Recommended retail price

This beautiful two-volume set brings together Audrey Eagle’s botanical artworks from her best-selling 1975 and 1983 publications. It includes over 170 new paintings, bringing the total number of plants to more than 800 – all in colour and life-size. Flowers, fruits, and other features are shown in superb detail.  Comprehensive notes, written in consultation with expert botanists, accompany the illustrations. They provide up-to-date information on each plant’s habitat, distribution, identification, nomenclature, and more. This set represents Audrey Eagle’s life’s work. It is an outstanding contribution to botany in New Zealand – and an essential addition to any library


Extinct Birds of New Zealand by Alan Tennyson and illustrated by Paul Martinson. ISBN 978-0-909010-21-8. Published by Te Papa Press. Recommended retail price

In New Zealand’s lush rainforests, isolated from the outside world for 80 million years, many extraordinary birds evolved. They included the giant moa, the beautiful huia, and the largest eagle the earth has ever seen. Within a few hundred years, human settlement extinguished 58 species – over a quarter of the species. For the first time ever, this book brings all these lost birds to life. In rich colour, celebrated painter Paul Martinson depicts each bird in its original habitat. Te Papa palaeontologist Alan Tennyson provides detailed information on the birds as well as a compelling overview of their tragic extinction.This book is essential reading for experts, students, and anyone interested in this country’s natural history.


Fiordland Underwater - New Zealand's Hidden Wilderness by Paddy Ryan and Chris Paulin. Published by Exisle Publishing. Recommended retail price $34.95, our price $32.

Fiordland Underwater explores New Zealand's most remote and until recently, most unexplored region - the underwater wonders of this unique fiord environment. Lavishly illustrated, this coffee table book introduces both the casual reader and the marine biologist to an astonishingly rich environment. The authors discuss various conservation issues and catalog the plants and animals found in this amazing realm. Hard cover, 192 pages.

Click here for photos from Fiordland Underwater by Paddy Ryan and Chris Paulin.

Click here for reviews of Fiordland Underwater.

Hebes, An Illustrated Guide to New Zealand by Michael Bayly and Alison Kellow. ISBN 978-0-909010-12-6. Published by Te Papa Press. Recommended retail price.

Hebes are remarkable for their ecological diversity, inhabiting wild places from coastal rocks to the high alps and taking many varied and striking forms. They are also popular garden plants in many parts of the world.

This book is a comprehensive guide to the identification, classification and biology of hebes. It includes Hebe, New Zealand's largest plant genus, and the related genus Leonohebe, providing keys for the identification of all wild species - 88 of Hebe and 5 of Leonohebe.

Each species is described in detail, with distribution maps, a page of full-colour photographs and information on recognition, variation, flowering time, chromosome number, botanical nomencalture and etymology. Lists of common and Maori names are included. General chapters cover classification, evolution, morphology, biogeography, reproductive biology, chemistry and conservation, and the book has a full glossary of technical terms.

Thoroughly researched and referenced, An Illustrated Guide to New Zealand Hebes is the most in-depth guide to these genera ever published and an indispensable reference for professional and amateur botanists, gardeners, conservation managers, photographers and students. Hard cover, 388 pages. Published in 2006.

Icebergs:The Antarctic comes to town by Dave Cull. ISBN 9781877361944. Published by Longacre Press. Recommended retail price $19.95.

‘I’ve always wanted to go to Antarctica. I never thought the Antarctic would come to me.’ Stephen Jaquiery

It was a sight we thought we'd never see - icebergs off the coast of southern New Zealand. Otago Daily Times photographer Stephen Jaquiery was the first on the scene in November 2006. His magnificent photographs inspired not only a new sightseeing industry but provoked an avalanche of interest from around the world. It's easy to see why...
Helicopters and small planes loaded up with photographers, TV journalists (including an Aussie film crew complete with Australian flag), scientists, tourists, even Shrek, the celebrity merino, flocked to view and visit these incredible 'groaning, creaking beasts'.
Writer Dave Cull takes us to the frozen continent and tracks the journey of the icebergs: from their Antarctic beginnings to their appearance and demise in the temperate waters of the South Pacific ocean. He answers the questions we all have: how are icebergs formed? Why did these icebergs get so far? How big are they? Will we see more? Is this the result of global warming? What does this mean for the wildlife of Antarctica? Is this the tip of the iceberg?

Illustrated with stunning color photographs throughout Icebergs:the Antarctic comes to town celebrates the glorious beauty of the ice islands as well as our response to their visit. Also included are maps, diagrams and graphs.
‘…stunning photography and Dave Cull ’s gee-whiz text, interviewing those who landed on or (strewth!) sheared a sheep on the chilly iceblocks, are the next best thing to being there.’ - The Dominion Post, 2007
‘…this book is a fantastic addition to any bookshelf.’ - onHoliday, 2007.              

Soft cover, 88 pages. Published in 2007.                                           

Moa’s Ark: The Voyage of New Zealand by David Bellamy and Brian Springett with Peter Hayden. Recommended retail price $24.95, our price $24.

New Zealand is an ark. Cast adrift from the ancient continent of Gondwana millions of years ago, it has drifted through the ages, preserving many of its ancient features. That is why New Zealand’s natural heritage contains so many unique plant and animal forms unknown in the rest of the world: trees mighty enough to have sheltered dinosaurs, ferns which first stood upright 350 million years ago, strange oddities like the tuatara, the amazing black coral of Fiordland, and the national symbol, the kiwi.

So goes the blurb on the dust jacket and it is surprisingly accurate. David Bellamy is an idiosyncratic English botanist who has made a well-deserved reputation presenting nature programs. This book accompanies the series of the same name by New Zealand’s world renowned Natural History Unit. It all fits together seamlessly and provides an eminently readable over-view of New Zealand nature. I’m delighted that we have been able to procure it for the website. Highly recommended. Hard cover, 231 pages.

Natural History: Icons from Te Papa. ISBN 1-877385-22-0. Published by Te Papa Press. Recommended retail price.

A selection of treasures from Te Papa's natural history collection. this book introduces the many unique plants and animals of New Zealand - including our national symbols, the kiwi and the silver fern.

  Alongside these are priceless museum pieces, such as the skeleton of the mighty race horse Phar Lapp and the ancient tooth of the first dinosaur ever described. These items tell the story of Aotearoa New Zealand and its natural history. From microscopic molluscs to a colossal squid and an enormous whale, every item is photographed in full color and accompanied by a lively, formative description. Softcover, 108 pages. Published in 2006.


The New Zealand Coast; Te Tai O Aotearoa edited by James R Goff, Scott L Nichol and Helen L Rouse. ISBN 0864694385 Recommended retail price $44.95.

One of New Zealand’s most precious taonga (treasures) is its coastline. This book offers an introductory and informative description of natural processes and their effects on the New Zealand coastline.

This definitive text covers:

· The tectonic history of New Zealand
· Oceanography of New Zealand waters
· Tsunami and storm surge hazards
· High energy beach and nearshore environments
· The New Zealand inner continental shelf
· Gravelly beach barriers and lagoon systems
· Coastal barriers and dunes
· Estuaries and tidal inlets
· Coastal wetlands and coastal pollution
· Pre-European archaeology of the coast

This book is essential reading for all those involved in the areas of geomorphology, geology, geography, geochemistry, oceanography, archaeology, engineering, soil sciences, resource management and policy, conservation studies and planning. It introduces the New Zealand coast not only to New Zealanders, but the rest of the world.

Dr. James Goff is the Manager of GeoEnvironmental Consultants.

Dr. Scott Nichol is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Auckland.

Dr. Helen Rouse was, until recently, the Environmental Information Manager for the West Coast Regional Council.

Soft cover, 312 pages. Published in 2003.


New Zealand Fish: a complete guide by Chris Paulin, Andrew Stewart, Clive Roberts & Peter McMillan. ISBN 0909010854. Published by Te Papa Press. Recommended retail price $24.95.

Scientists at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa discover, describe and name new species of fishes. Much of their work is published in scientific journals, but commercial and recreational fishers, scientists and students need a reference where relevant information is gathered together.

First published in 1989, this authoritative guide is based on the world's biggest and most comprehensive collection of New Zealand fishes, held at Te Papa. The co-authors, who have published over 100 scientific papers on the subject, have combined efforts to make the results of these and other studies available to an international audience.

Now reissued due to high demand for a guide to all families of fishes, from rockpools to the deep ocean, this book provides a set of illustrated keys to assist in the accurate identification of 1008 fish species in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone. Each family is described, with line drawings and technical information, including distribution. Sixty-four color photographs are also included.

The authors working at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa are Chris Paulin, Collection Manager, Fishes; Clive Roberts, Curator, Fishes; Andrew Stewart, Collection Manager, Fishes. Peter McMillan is an Honorary Research Associate of the Museum of New Zealand and a fisheries biologist with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. Soft cover, 279 pages. Published in 2001.


New Zealand Lichens: Checklist, Key and Glossary by W. M. Malcolm & D. J. Galloway. Retail price $29.95

This is a useful book for anyone interested in lichens at either the amateur or professional level.
Here's a quote from the introduction which will give you an idea of the scope and direction of the book.

"The past few years have seen unprecedented growth in the knowledge of the world’s lichens, and the diversity of lichens and their associated fungi have received worldwide scrutiny. Lichenology is now a lively area of scientific enquiry, with many actively growing fields of interest such as systematics, biodiversity, chemistry, molecular biology, ecology, physiology, conservation, biodeterioration, and biological monitoring. The refinement and increasing accessibility of sensitive techniques of chemical analysis and of molecular biology now underpin new approaches to lichen systematics, leading to more natural arrangements of taxa. Many new genera have been proposed, and many old generic names are being resurrected as several large, heterogeneous genera (e.g. Lecidea, Lecanora, and Parmelia) have been divided into smaller and more narrowly defined unites. As Nimis notes, “The frequency of nomenclatural changes which characterizes modern lichenology is often seen as an annoying fact, especially by beginners; however, this is also an indication of the very good health of modern lichen taxonomy” Soft cover, spiral bound, 192 pages. Published in 1997.


Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds, The by Geoff Moon. Retail price $27.95.

Geoff Moon is one of New Zealand’s best bird photographers and has been an ardent ornithologist forever. This field guide includes over 360 color photos and is the first photographic field guide to New Zealand birds. The information in the book includes both common and up-to-date scientific names, together with descriptions of each bird’s habitat, distribution, physical characteristics, voice, food and breeding habits. Where relevant, plumage differences between the sexes are illustrated. A glossary and a helpful section on birdwatching equipment complete an invaluable field guide that no nature enthusiast (particularly one visiting New Zealand) should be without. Hard cover, 256 pages.


New Zealand Stream Invertebrates: Ecology and Implications for Management edited by K.J. Collier and M. J. Winterbourn. Published by the New Zealand Limnological Society. ISBN 0473066793. Recommended retail price $45.

This is a comprehensive and up-to-date account of the biology and ecology of invertebrate animals living in New Zealand streams and rivers. Invertebrates play key roles in the food-webs of running water ecosystems and are the principal foods of fish and many water-associated birds. They are also used widely for biological monitoring and measuring the toxicity of effluents. Although an extensive technical and scientific literature deals with many aspects of stream ecology in New Zealand, this is the first work that draws much of it together in a detailed and authoritative manner. The contributors are research scientists, academics and water managers who work with stream invertebrates. I provided many of the pictures.

The book comprises 15 chapters totaling over 400 pages. The first three provide an introduction to the New Zealand stream fauna, its biogeography, biodiversity, and special features, while five deal with fundamental aspects of ecology; life-histories, feeding, substrate relationships and habitat use. The last seven chapters examine applied topics including the effects of agriculture, mining, forestry, urban development, flow management and toxic substances on stream communities, conservation issues and the role of stream invertebrates in monitoring and management.

New Zealand Stream Invertebrates: Ecology and Implications for Management includes extensive references to the original literature, comprehensive indexes and an eight page spread of color photographs.

Kevin Collier is a senior aquatic scientist at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in Hamilton.

Mike Winterbourn is Emeritus Professor Zoology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch. Soft cover, 415 pages. Published in 2000.

Pick of the Bunch: New Zealand Wildflowers by Peter Johnson. Published by Longacre Press. ISBN 1877135062. Recommended retail price $26, our price $24.

Winner of the 1998 Montana Environment & Heritage Award

Come on a journey with renowned botanist Peter Johnson as your enthusiastic guide and discover the delights of New Zealand wildflowers – from the mundane to the magnificent, from the overlooked to the ostentatious. Savor the detail of the regional ‘bunches’ and their place in the wider landscape, and be entertained by Johnson’s insight, anecdotes, and engaging style.

Pick of the Bunch is lavishly illustrated with over 260 color photographs and includes a map, a comprehensive index and a table featuring flowering times, common and botanical names, and the origins of the wildflowers. Soft cover, 184 pages.

Pohutukawa & Rata: New Zealand's Iron-hearted Trees by Philip Simpson. ISBN 0-909010-99-4. Published by Te Papa Press. Recommended retail price


Pohutakawa and rata are beloved symbols of Aotearoa New Zealand, representing summer, nationhood and our unique natural environment. Flourishing crimson forests and a coastal "ring of fire" greeted the first human visitors to New Zealand. Yet, today, these trees are in decline, their survival threatened by possums, progress and people.

This book is a celebration of pohutukawa and rata as well as a passionate call for their preservation. Full of fascinating research, it explores their evolution and development, their role in Maori mythology, language and spiritual life, their value to pakeha and their many surprising uses.

Generously illustrated with over 400 contemporary and archival images, this book also features many examples of these trees in art and design, textiles and advertising, literature and poetry. Pohutakawa & Rata: New Zealand's Iron-hearted Trees is an essential resource for teachers and pupils, gardener and horticulturalists, lovers of history and art, and anyone committed to the future of New Zealand's precious biota.

Philip Simpson is an expert botanist and author of the award-winning Dancing Leaves: The Story of New Zealand's Cabbage Tree, Ti Kouka. Soft cover, 346 pages. Published in 2005.


The Rock Pool Fishes of New Zealand by Paulin and Roberts. Recommended retail price $25, our price $22.

This guide to the rock pool fishes of New Zealand provides high quality pen and ink drawings of each species as well as numerous color photographs of live specimens. The text provides both amateur biologist and professional ichthyologist with much useful information. If you are a diver, snorkeler or just an interested naturalist this will make a useful addition to your library.

It was helping take the photos for this book that got Paddy back into underwater photography. Despite the fact they went to university together he will never forgive Chris. Hard cover, 176 pp.

Click here for illustrations from The Rockpool Fishes of New Zealand.


  Smarter Than Jack: 87 true stories edited by Jenny Campbell.  ISBN 0473083817. Distributed by Addenda Books. Recommended retail price $7.98.

Have you ever underestimated the intelligence of an animal only for it to get the better of you? Has an animal ever saved you from danger? Surprised you by its actions” Or maybe copied your behavior, getting you into trouble”

In this book you’ll find 87 true stories of encounters with smart animals, submitted by people throughout New Zealand. The stories are real, raw and gutsy. Some will make you laugh; others may have you in tears. You’ll be entertained… and it will make a great gift.

You’ll read stories about:
· A dog who gave her pup mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
· A budgie who ‘manned’ the reception desk at a pub
· Telecom’s Spot, the feisty little jack Russell terrier
· An oil-freak cat who eased a woman’s pain
· Cows who knew just what to do for a bereaved male.

“Animals play such an important part in the lives of most New Zealanders, and every day I have someone telling me a humorous, endearing or inspirational story of a dog, cat, horse or sheep that has provided a memorable moment. Smarter than Jack is a wonderful record of many similar yarns to illustrate the tremendous bond between New Zealanders and their animals.” – Mark Leishman

“Compassion is born our of understanding. This wonderful collection of true New Zealand stories will open your eyes to the intelligence and intuition of our fellow creatures. It will not only change the way you think about animals, but also how you view peoples’ treatment of them.” – Peter Mason, SPCA National President

Avocado Press was created by Jenny Campbell. The objective is to publish entertaining, reader-contributed books that give something back to society. Smarter Than Jack is the first book in a series. Profit from sales goes to the Royal New Zealand Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Soft cover, 148 pages. Published in 2002.


Toroa: The Royal Albatross by Te Aorere Riddell. Published by Huia Publishers. ISBN 1877283894. Recommended retail price $12.95.

“Every year, the albatross covers a distance of more than 190,000 km. This is equivalent to driving the entire length of New Zealand 84 times.”

With a wingspan of three meters, the Toroa, or Royal Albatross, can fly up to 115 km an hour. The Toroa lives for over 60 years, and spends 87% of its long life at sea.

Meet this amazing bird – an important part of New Zealand’s heritage – and discover how we can conserve it as a legacy for the future. Hard cover, 32 pages. Published in 2003.


Underwater Wonders of New Zealand by Gillian and Darryl Torckler. Retail price $32.95

The title of this book says it all. Illustrated with photos by Darryl Torckler one of New Zealand's best underwater photographers and with a text by Gillian Torckler, a university professor, it would be hard to envisage a better partnership. The Torcklers take us on a photographic odyssey to some of their favorite dive sites … and few people have dived more of New Zealand.

Highlights for me include a species index ... many "pretty" underwater books make only half-hearted efforts to identify their subjects. My favorite photo is on page 79 … a surreal study of red waratah anemones reflected in the surface of the water. An ideal before or after the event coffee table book for a New Zealand dive trip. The list of websites at the back leaves out which would be a useful addition. Highly recommended and great value for money. We are now the US distributors for this superb volume. Hard cover, 112 pages. Published 1999.

Click here for moray eel shot by Daryl Torckler (54.78K)

Click on links below for these books.

Birdwatching in Australia and New Zealand by Ken Simpson and Zoe Wilson

Designer Genes: The NZ Guide to the issues and facts about Genetic Engineering edited by Ray Prebble

Earth, A Speck of Dust by Keith Wilson

Ecomyth: Challenging the dogma and ideology of the international 'green' movement by Lance Kennedy

Legend of the Kea, The by Philip Temple and Chris Gaskin

Story of the Kakapo, Parrot of the Night, The by Philip Temple and Chris Gaskin

Whale Watching in Australian & New Zealand Waters by Peter Gill & Cecilia Burke, Color illustrations by Pieter Folkens

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